Wow! Huge Collection of Ford Cars, Trucks, and Parts
A Ford Fan’s Fantasy Land: The Auto Archaeologist Ryan Brutt finds a massive collection of Ford cars, trucks, and parts.
The internet opens up a world we could never have dreamed of. I run a page on Facebook (The Auto Archaeologist), and I’m posting constantly about my adventures driving around the country documenting cool cars in neglected states. I had mentioned that I was heading down to the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum for the Aero Warriors Reunion in October, and one of my followers mentioned that he had something that was worth my time to come and see. So after the reunion, I headed straight there.
Pulling up to the house, Eddie came out to greet me and released his contingent of attack wiener dogs. They of course ran straight to my Challenger and urinated on it. This was going to be different! But Eddie was a great guy, as was his friend Kevin, and we sat there for a bit and talked about our many travels and adventures.
Things really got going when we headed over to the first storage building though. I was immediately greeted by a row of Ford products, including a Lightning that was a show truck for Ford to showcase the new-for-the-time Lightning. It had a bunch of trick pieces that are unique to the truck that Eddie hasn’t see on any of the other first generation Lightnings he had. Heck, in the back of the truck, it was full of vintage, rare Ford pieces.
That wasn’t the only desirable vehicle hanging out in there though. There was a rare Export Torino that had a bunch of unique options you don’t see on the U.S.-spec cars like rear defrost, power windows, and a speedometer marked in kilometers. My personal favorite in this building was buried behind a pile of lumber and A/C units—a Grabber Blue 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with a Shaker hood!
There was also a variety of other Mustangs, including a ’68 Fastback and a 2000’s Shelby G.T. 500 that were supposed to be the same color, but when brought home were far off. But these weren’t “Barn Finds;” rather these were nice cars that ran and drove, along with most of the other vehicles in this storage shed, including a few mint Maverick Grabbers and misc GM products.
We hopped in Eddie’s Jeep and headed up the muddy trail to his shop where he did body work and other misc things to the cars he and his friends have. In the back room of the shop were even more Mustangs and Mavericks, including an SN95-era Cobra and a rare ’70 Mustang SportsRoof that was supposedly 1 of 2 built for a Ford exec’s daughters.
The shop was on a hill, and from the hilltop, you could see that there were fields full of Mustangs behind it. Fox Bodies, first generation cars, a handful of second gens, and even some Fairlanes, Falcons, and more—just row after row of cars. I don’t think I had ever seen so many Fox-body Mustangs in one place than I did in that yard—it was crazy!
Our small group migrated over to Eddie’s father’s property, where even more vintage Fords were being stored. Outside in a partial lean-to was a neat old Torino station wagon that had extremely low mileage. The interior still smelled new and looked never to have been touched. And sitting just a few stalls down, covered in the moss/green stuff that almost every vehicle out there seems to have from sitting a while, was a 1966 Mustang fastback. It wasn’t a GT or K-code, but still a solid little fastback—one of my favorites.
Inside was a few more cars, including a first-gen Lightning with basically no miles because if fell off a car carrier at delivery. The plan is to take another Lightning parts car (parts truck?) they have and making it whole again. Sitting in front of that, for just about as long, was a 1967 Mustang coupe. It had the dress-up package with the nicer gauge cluster and other odds and ends. But it had been sitting in that barn a long, long time and was going to need a lot of help to get going.
The storage shed was the last of the items that Eddie and Kevin owned. We hung out for a few minutes, they introduced me to some of the donkey’s roaming around—apparently Eddie’s father liked donkeys—and we went to lunch at a neat local restaurant. That’s where I discovered that we weren’t quite done, they had a friend with a few more pieces to show me. I had heard about this friend but didn’t fully realize we were going over there today. It turned out to be totally worth it.
Going out into the middle of nowhere, we found our Ford Guru. This guy was amazing. He had every kind of Ford engine you could imagine in his workshop, and I don’t just mean the regular stuff, I mean stuff I had to do deep google searches on because I didn’t know they existed. Like a Cross-Boss intake that was used on some SCCA Trans-Am Boss Mustangs—there was part of one on the wall. FE-based Tunnel Port engine: yup that’s there. SOHC, Boss 302, 427, 429, everything! I couldn’t believe the stuff just sitting on the floor or on a shelf.
That was just the first room! Going through a small door at the back of the room, we entered a space with more insane cars: a 1969 Mach 1 Mustang in black with years of dust sitting on it. Next to that was a 1970 Cobra Torino that had been there just about as long as the Mach 1. Beyond that was a 1970 Mustang convertible with a 351. Not all the vehicles in the garage had been sitting—he had a sweet 1967 fastback in red right by the door.
Eddie said to jump on his little 4x4 because he had something to show me, so off we went into a cow pasture. We had to slalom around cows bigger than most cars. But on the opposite side of the field was a field full of muscle cars. Not just Mustangs, but Mopars and GMs as well. Torinos, Rancheros, Mustang fastbacks littered everywhere. While these cars were in sad shape, Eddie and Kevin had actually saved them from the past owner who was going to crush everything! So while yes, they are sitting in a cow pasture for now, this is not their final resting spot.
My heart already ached, with so much rusty muscle lying everywhere, but there was one last place to hit up. On the drive in, I had noticed an old factory that had rows of vintage Fords sitting under a roof. It was owned by the same gentleman, and the cars outside were not the only ones. Inside the old factory were a bunch of Mustangs including another 1969 Sportsroof, 1967 fastback and 1970 convertible. They were not alone; they shared the building with a rare 1963 Ford Falcon Futura with the 260 ci V8, the direct predecessor to the Mustang. Sitting behind it was a 1970 Torino GT convertible.
Out back in another one of the factory buildings, the owner had stashed a bunch of spare engines he had collected, including a dozen Boss 302 engines acquired from another Ford aficionado down that way. Heads, blocks, transmissions both manual and automatic were scattered all about this one smaller room, with a few random GM engines sprinkled in as well. Ironically enough, I found a few 1971 Dodge Challenger parts stashed in a corner, and they just happened to be parts I needed!
Our last stop on the magical mystery tour was to a large open-sided building filled with rows and rows of Ford products, a Mustang or two but mostly Torinos and Fairlanes all covered in that green moss/algae that everything else had. But they were still fairly safe with a roof over their heads and concrete under their wheels, they just had to worry about rain coming in from the sides, as it doesn’t snow very often.
It was getting late and I had to still drive a few hours north, so we parted ways and they said that they would keep watching for cool stuff and let me know what they find. I thanked them for their kindness showing me around and allowing me to document their collections. I still think back to walking around all those Mustangs and Torinos, all the rare parts and cars just hanging around—how lucky we are to live in an age where people can come together with mutual crazy ideas about rusty muscle cars and become friends.